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Bread for the World launched its 2015 Offering of Letters: Feed Our Children campaign today, urging Congress to strengthen national child nutrition programs when the law governing them comes up for reauthorization this year.
“One in five children in the United States lives at risk of hunger,” said Christine Melendez Ashley, senior domestic policy analyst at Bread for the World. “Child nutrition programs are vital because they ensure that our children get nutritious meals and have the energy to grow and learn.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 funds and sets policy for national child nutrition programs and must be reauthorized every five years. It includes school lunch and breakfast programs, summer feeding programs, after-school and child care feeding programs, and The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Together these programs serve about 29 million low-income children annually.
Bread wants Congress to continue the strong investments in national child nutrition programs and to improve children’s access to feeding programs. For every seven low-income children getting a lunch at school, only four get breakfast, and only one receives meals during the summer, a time when children are most at risk of hunger. Improvements to these programs should not be paid for by cuts to other vital safety net programs.
“Both sides of the aisle agree that hungry children, especially in a wealthy country like ours, is unacceptable. The various child nutrition programs are testament to the bipartisan support that is still found in Congress, support that will hopefully continue to ensure that nutritious food for children is not a privilege,” said Ashley.
Thousands of churches representing nearly 50 diverse Christian denominations throughout the United States will participate in Bread for the World’s 2015 Offering of Letters campaign. As part of a worship service or mass, people of faith will write letters to their members of Congress urging the reauthorization of national child nutrition programs. They then offer these letters to God before they are delivered to their members of Congress.
For more than 40 years, Bread for the World members have written hundreds of thousands of letters to Congress every year. This annual campaign has consistently won lasting victories for children, men, and women who struggle to put food on their tables.
Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters materials are available here.
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King
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